When your uber awesome efficiency system fails you…or you fail it.

It’s one or the other really, isn’t it? User error or system error. And in this case I think it might be me. But the system had a fault so it failed me too. Except I created it.

OK. I suspect this isn’t making a lick of sense so I might start at the beginning and you can tell me what you think.

I have this super sophisticated to-do system going on at the moment. It involves post-it notes and my kitchen cupboard doors. See. TA DA! 

I bet you are jealous you didn't think of this

I bet you are jealous you didn’t think of this

This cupboard is right next to where I stand in the kitchen preparing and cooking dinner, coincidentally when I have most of my light bulb moments, so there couldn’t be a better place for my lists. PLUS, they are at just above eye height so I see them whenever I look in the this direction. Which is often. All good.


I’m loving the yellow too. Stands right out.

I use it mainly for work days and the TEAM (that would be me) loves it. I’m getting a 100% take up rate. It rocks.

The system is pretty straightforward. If I think of something I write it on the relevant category post-it. Then as the “work” day approaches (although I do it on Sunday’s too – basically any child free days) I start a post-it for THAT day and itemise what I would like to achieve that day. Some things I pull from the category lists, some I pluck from my ever so slightly functioning brain.  I put the list in the order I’d like to achieve it and am pretty firm about completing things in that order otherwise I jump around like a very happy but ineffective fire cracker and get only half of the work done.

It’s been working well and I really love it…until today.

OH NO I hear you cry. You’re devastated, I know. I was too.

Sometimes the note has tasks on it I need to complete outside the home. I had a big list of these today so I made a separate post-it (UH OH) that was to come on my outing with me.  As I was sitting at the traffic lights turning into the shopping centre car park it dawned on me that the post-it did not make it out of the front door. I’ll admit it. I panicked. The whole point of the post-it note system is that I don’t have to remember the items for myself. It’s like brain dumping. So I’m sitting there workshopping it in my mind at the traffic lights and I feel confident I can at least remember 3/4 of the list. The rest may come to me later.

New strategy: any note that needs to leave the house must be entered into the mobile phone.

I don’t like to use the phone normally as I hate that I have to actually open the notes app to even look at my list. Usually I just forget it even exists as soon as I enter it. So I’m thinking if I incorporate the post-it process up until the very last step then I will get the best of both worlds. Surely that can’t fail.

Anyway, I got to the shopping centre and I was all jittery waiting to park my car so I could write down the 3/4 of a list that I remembered. My plan was to drop the car with the car wash people for an hour and rush around and do my errands and then head home. But second fail…car wash dudes can’t give me my car back for 2 hours. That doesn’t help my already packed day. Schedule is totally worked over now.

In the end I arranged a booked time with the guys for just over an hour later, did a few of my later tasks early (felt REALLY flexible) and popped home to get my lost post-it note. All in all I got home about an hour or so later than I’d planned it in my head *sigh*.

Part of that was probably my attempts at over achieving (do you do that too?) and the other part was probably to do with the fact that I didn’t plan quite as well as I thought I had.

This never used to happen to me pre-baby. I used to keep every last detail IN MY HEAD. I was AMAZING. Now there is no chance. Simply NO CHANCE. I am now a person who forgets things and that was never me. NEVER. People that forgot things frustrated me.

So it seems life is teaching me a lesson in patience and understanding, among other things.

How about you? What systems do you use? And if you have kiddos have things changed for you massively since having bub?


36 thoughts on “When your uber awesome efficiency system fails you…or you fail it.

  1. Started a new system which now involves a Excel sheet with all tasks, ideas and plans for this year and next. This is mostly related to setting up my new business, there are too many ideas popping up in my head. There are things like ” write a book” on this list (2014). All things I would like to finalize in this year I have entered the Month it is due but already it is way too much since that’s two more months in 2013.

    Then there is the “normal” to-do list, smaller, short term tasks, who are either in my head, (not good), on my wunderlist app in my phone (used that for a while but it got cluttered) or on a post it which I try to make on a daily basis. Or on any other piece of paper because it is hard to stick to a certain system.

    Also I find that the small, short term tasks, usually take up so much time that the more important, long term tasks are being pushed forward. So time management stays a real challenge. And finding a good system too. Don’t have kids but I also find that I more easily forget tasks but I blame being so busy with so many things for that.

    • Yeah it must be the being so busy thing that makes us forgetful. Nice to see the post-it gets a run st your place too. Simple yet effective! You are right about the smaller tasks taking so much time and as a result pushing back the bigger ones. In those cases I *try* to break the bigger task into smaller tasks that then have a chance at making my daily post-it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hey, I quite like that system! Especially as you get a constant visual reminder. I’m a bit OCD though, so I couldn’t put post-its on my cabinets, lol! I’d be stressing about doing EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW so I could take them all down and see those lovely white surfaces 😀 My kitchen cabinets are yucky cream/yellow – I LOVE yours… one day!

  3. Your phone camera is the solution to all your problems. Before you go out, take a snap of the task post-it note and, voila, it’s with you at all times. Please transfer my consulting fee to the usual account. 🙂

    • haha SO SIMPLE. I feel like an idiot for not even thinking of it. LOL Hey I had the BEST RUN TODAY. I was itching to post about it but I’m going to wait until the end of this week and post about the whole week. It’s week 5 of my couch to 5k and things are really coming to fruition. Sat sees my first 20min straight run. I’m literally bursting with excitement!

  4. I do this all time with the shopping list – I now get Amelia to take a picture of it – or worse case get Boo to text a photo of the list – love you post it note system – that’s awesome!!

  5. I forget everything unless I write it down…and yes, this definitely started once I had kids. There is just entirely too much to remember. I use a grocery list app on my phone for my and my phone calendar and notes section. I keep a 2 dry erase boards on my fridge, one for our weekly schedule and one for the week’s menu and less important “to dos”, but I’ll write something there if it crosses my mind and I know I’ll forget it. I usually check my phone reminders and notes weekly because when I am out and about and don’t have a pen or paper, I can quickly jot down random ideas there. The grocery list app has really been the best though! I am like you, I plan and over achieve and its frustrating when things don’t go the way they should. Good luck remembering stuff! haha 😉

    • haha ah yes funny joke! I also use my phone’s calendar for diary events and then I use an app called Life Reminders for certain things. But the post-it notes are so taking over and I LOVE THEM the best hehe. Hey I’ve written a post for your link up every day this week so far. Scheduling for next week on equivalent days. Let me know as soon as that button is ready!

      • ooo, I’ll have to check out that app! I will let you know. Jhanis was going to do the button but they had an earthquake. I may give it a try on my own because I am sure that is the last thing she wants to think about right now. I’ll let you know 🙂 Thanks for participating! I wrote my Monday one yesterday and am just hoping crickets aren’t the soundtrack for the rest of the week posts. lol

      • lol and OH NO about Jhanis. I didn’t even hear. I hope everything is ok 😦 Anyway no biggie about the button. If we have one then great but if not it will still work. 🙂

  6. Jogging with dad beat me to the ‘take a picture of the list’ idea! I’m on week 3 of c25k…. It’s the first one since the very first one that has really stretched my limits… I’m reading blogs instead of putting on my shoes currently!
    I remember nothing since my son was born… I’ve discovered that I don’t like the “notes” feature on my phone, but the “reminders” features ROCK! I have about 7 different lists happening right now! (Daily to-do, blog idea, party food, etc.). And the nice thing is that on Saturday or Sunday I can go in and “un-check” the items that repeat. So, at the end of every week I go in and re-activate Vacuum, dust, clean bathroom – all of the stuff that (sadly) I have to repeat every week! (Yes, I have a cleaning schedule, I must do a little bit each day because I refuse to spend my weekends cleaning!)
    But, it’s worth it, cause I love crossing the items off!

  7. My system is a pile. That’s it. A pile. Yeah. It doesn’t work very well. I like your system. I love the sticky notes. I hate my phone. I don’t like to use it that way either. I’m rambling. I need to hit the comments and find a good system. Although the pile actually doesn’t go too badly, I just make sure to go through it a couple of times a week. Kids make things more challenging. I was “the one” before kids. For sure. I’ve been told it will come back as the kids get older. I don’t know. I think I’d just like to pass the responsibility on to my kids…Cheers.

  8. My life is nowhere near complicated enough to require a sophisticated system of note-taking and lists. That’s so tragic. I used to be a busy and important person. Now I’m not. LOL.

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  11. LOL, that is one rockin’ system you have there! At least you found the kink.
    Something happened to me after having kids…and more with each one…I can’t remember a darn thing. I write down everything! I have a calendar for this, one for that, and separate to-do lists for all sorts of things! My kids wouldn’t have school at all if I weren’t this way. But, believe it or not, I’m really a relaxed person because it’s all out of my head and on paper, so I am able to chill! 😉
    Btw, feel free to hop by the party this weekend and share a link to one of your “old” posts! 😀 http://atlantamomofthree.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/blast-from-the-past-blog-party-oct-18th/

  12. What a cool post! I write in a notebook and I use my mobile phone to help me out when I (used to) go out. My memory is still pretty sharp but I always think the worst that can happen is that I don’t look at my list so I make one anyways. My favorite list if I can say this is when I write down what we will need to have with us in the morning when we are flying somewhere. We did leave the stroller behind once so this is super practical for first time parents…

    xoxo, Eszter

  13. I am a crazy list maker! I have been ever since I can remember and since having a baby I HAVE to write a list to feel calm and collected. Having a baby definitely messes with your memory and decides that for some reason you don’t need it anymore. I normally write a list on my clipboard but as I remember stuff throughout the day I write another list on my phone and then transfer it to the main list at the end of the day. If I am at my desk I stick post-it notes all over the desk for other stuff I have to do. My whole life feels like one big list and there’s no escape. I don’t know what I would do if I lost one of them, I would feel completely lost myself. One thing I do tend to do before I walk out the door is take a picture of my list with my phone to save myself from writing it all out again. Hope your system continues to work better for you! x

    • I love your list system! You are a woman after my own heart! A few people suggested the picture of the list (can’t believe I didn’t think of that!) and it was worked superbly since. Yay!

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